Sofia Hayat filed an FIR against Armaan Kohli and he was booked for causing hurt, intending to outrage the modesty of a woman, criminal intimidation, among other things. While some sections of the audience expressed shock at Armaan’s behaviour, others said that there was another side to the story.
Irrespective, for the first time, an incident that took place as part of a TV show (Bigg Boss), went beyond reel drama and saw real-life authorities get involved.
Yes, Bigg Boss is a show people love to hate. The bickering, the arguments, the fake romances may not be in good taste, but they get consumed by a voyeuristic audience. As with all kinds of voyeurism, things need to be taken up a notch to keep the interest. The police involvement may have been inadvertent, but the fights this season seemed more aggressive than ever before. A push, a shove, a table flipped, the tussle with a mop, someone grabbed by the neck – it’s a whole new level of shock value. And the entire show is structured to trigger a lashing out, a violent reaction. What with being filmed 24x7, cooped up not just in a house with strangers, but often in claustrophobic spaces.
But why just talk about Bigg Boss? Fiction shows too perpetuate the idea of violence. We saw how Pramad trapped Kumud and then attempted to burn the room down in Saraswati­chandra; Bani (on the show, Bani) was molested by her brother-in-law and instead of him being punished, she was thrown out of the house; Shlok married Astha and tortures her daily (Iss Pyar ko Kya Naam Doon). Crime shows, too, dramatise things. The idea may be to create awareness, but the violent actions, graphically depicted, seem exhibitionistic.
The broadcasters’defence is that they show both crime and punishment, but the crime is the part that shocks, that attracts eyeballs. At the end of the day, the relation between the TV and its audience may be symbiotic – a demand-and-supply chain. The demand seems to be for more violence. And TV seems glad to oblige.